For Chinese peasants, protecting their land from corrupt local officials teamed up with profit hungry developers has become a major worry. A rights group suggests that these land grabs may be the most destabilizing force at work in mainland China.
Every year in China there are hundreds of clashes between landowners on one side and local Communist Party officials and developers on the other, attempting to take their property by swindle—and when that fails—by force.
Whether houses are demolished to make way for the Beijing Olympics, this year's Shanghai World Expo or a village’s farm land seized to build a power plant, Chinese citizens have found themselves with little to no legal recourse.
The officials and land developers say they are doing the regime’s bidding, increasing development to meet quotas. But peasants say they are being forced from their land and offered hardly any compensation.
A China-based rights lobby, the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group released a report on Monday (March 29) titled “Papering Over the Cracks.” It points out gaps between Chinese constitutional law on property rights and the way those laws are apparently being bypassed.
The report states, (quote) "This increase in property rights violations, predominantly related to forced evictions and demolitions, is one of the leading causes of instability in China today."
Chinese communist leaders released a draft replacement for current regulations governing evictions in January. But the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group is openly distrustful of the drafted regulations. They warn that if Chinese citizens are not protected from forced eviction, (quote) “the level of violent conflicts is certain to increase."